More than 3 Million Registered Voters are Dead, 12 Million More Ineligible, Analysis Finds

October 30, 2009 - 4:49 PM
Regardless of how lively an election season might be, a new study shows that more 3.3 million voters on current registration rolls across the country are dead.

District of Columbia delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, left, and District of Columbia Mayor Adrian Fenty, hold a news conference to discuss the DC voting rights bill, at the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, on Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2009. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

(CNSNews.com) – Regardless of how lively an election season might be, a new study shows that more 3.3 million voters on current registration rolls across the country are dead.
 
Another 12.9 million remain on voter registration lists in an area where they no longer live.
 
The analysis was conducted by the Aristotle International Inc., a technology company
specializing in political campaigns, developing software and databases for politicians.
 
In total that means about 8.9 percent of all registered voters fall under the category of “deadwood” voters on the rolls, the term for voters who should no longer be eligible to vote in a precinct.
 
Not only does this raise concerns about potential voter fraud, but from the interest of campaign consultants, ineligible or expired voters could lead to a waste of resources, said John Aristotle Phillips, CEO of Aristotle.
 
“Some states have bigger problems than others,” Phillips said. “With deadwood exceeding one in seven votes in some counties, candidates might as well spend a day a week campaigning in the cemetery.”
 
Among the findings, the study showed that states with the most “deadwood” voters were Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.
 
  • In Massachusetts, 116,483 registered voters are dead, 3.38 percent of the state’s total of registered voters. Another 538,567, or 15.6 percent, had moved to an area outside of where they are registered to vote.
 
  • In New Hampshire, there are 18,816 dead people on the voter registration rolls, or 2.5 percent of the total registered voters. There are 105,472 voters that have moved outside of the area where they are registered to vote.
 
  • The analysis showed that Washington State had 27,267 dead voters who were still registered, just 0.7 percent of the total number of registered voters. Another 332,510 had moved out of the area they are registered to vote in, or 8.73 percent of the total registered voters.
 
  • West Virginia had 72,717 dead voters on the registration rolls, or 6.74 percent of the total registered voters in the state. Another 141,352 voters had moved, or 13 percent.
 
  • In Wyoming, 7,723 registered voters (3.68 percent) are dead, while 45,547 (21.69 percent) had moved.
 
  • The state with the fewest problems percentage wise is North Carolina. There, 3.5 percent of registered voters are dead – 216,036. Meanwhile, 30,888 had moved out of the designated voting area, or about 0.5 percent.
 
Nationally, 1.87 percent of registered voters are dead, while 7.2 percent of voters do not live where they are registered.
 
“Deadwood on voters rolls complicates the electoral process and can cause problems like fraud and vote miscounts,” Phillips said. “It always creates a perception of low voter turnout. It gets down to this: by depressing turnout, dead voters make the rest of us look bad.”